Figure Skating

Thomson Reuters - Thursday Feb. 20, 2014 17:40 ET

Yuna Kim relieved her figure skating career is done

Korean superstar 'just so glad it's over'

Yuna Kim carries her country's flag after the end of the ladies' figure skating event

Yuna Kim carries her country's flag after the end of the ladies' figure skating event (Reuters/Alexander Demianchuk)

Queen Yuna's reign has finally come to an end and the South Korean could not be happier. 

Her final competition before retirement did not have the fairytale ending Yuna Kim or the millions of fans in her homeland wanted.

Instead of winning the gold medal, as she did in Vancouver four years ago, Kim was relegated to the silver medal position behind Russia's 17-year-old Adelina Sotnikova at the Sochi Winter Olympics on Thursday.

If she was disappointed at finishing second, Kim did not show it, smiling and clapping her hands at the flower presentation.

"I felt relieved that I didn't make any mistakes," she said. "A lot of different feelings were coming to me, the biggest one was relief that it was all over."

Just 23, Kim had already announced before the Olympics that she was hanging up her skates. A megastar in her homeland with a portfolio of lucrative sponsorships, she has been living in the spotlight for years and battling injury problems.

Although she won last year's world championship, Kim was not at her absolute best. She did get the highest score in the short programme but was second overall behind Sotnikova in the long programme.

Flawless routine

Kim was the last to skate and, while her routine was almost flawless, she opted to play it safe and complete six triple jumps after the Russian had nailed all seven she attempted.

"I didn't watch the skaters before me because I was preparing my programme," Kim said.

"I just thought I did everything I could. I didn't feel any pressure but it has been four years since Vancouver so I was exhausted."

While Sotnikova had the crowd on their feet stomping for more, Kim was emotionless through most of her routine, struggling to even break out a smile until she came back for the flower presentation.

"I'm just so glad it's over. Training is so hard for any athlete," she said. "I'm so happy to be here because it's my last competition as a skater. When I finished I was so tired."

Had she won, Kim would have joined Sonja Henie and Katarina Witt as the only women to win back-to-back titles in the sport's most-watched event.

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